Deadbolt locks that require keys on the inside: want your opinion (fast!)

The new house we’ve moved into has three doors with deadbolt locks that can only be opened with a key on both sides: there is no knob on the inside. I’ve seen this before, but never lived with it. The locks are immediately adjacent to glass windows, either in the door itself or in the surrounding frame, so I assume that the rationale is to prevent someone from simply smashing the window and reaching in to unlock the door.

However, I have two problems with them: first is that, on a day-to-day basis, it is extremely inconvenient to have to find the key whenever you want to lock yourself in or let yourself out. Second is the safety risk: in the event of a fire or other serious emergency, the inability to find a key to let yourself out could be deadly.

IMHO, these two objections outweigh the security risk in our suburban neighborhood. So I’m inclined to replace the locks with conventional deadbolts with knobs. (The doorknobs also have locks, but I have never liked that kind: not very secure, and too easy to lock yourself out. I will probably replace them with un-keyed knobs.)

What say you?

You can mitigate the inconvenience and danger of being trapped by keeping a spare key in the lock (on the inside!) at all times; this might be cheaper than replacing the lock.

Needing a key to get out is unacceptable in my house.
I would change to a dead bolt with knob/handle inside AND change door/window arrangement that made it necessary for security.:smiley:

I have lived with that for almost 30 years. Pretty much a non-issue. We keep keys on a hook next to the door.

According to this website the 2000 IRC building codes requires all means of egress from a residence to be operable from inside without a key or other tool. I say replace them.

How many smokey fires have you escaped from in those 30 years?

We just left a key in the lock. It gives you the ability to easily open the lock, but you can remove the key if you’re gone on vacation or whatever.

I agree that you should be concerned about quick egress. You can’t count on someone being able to quickly find a key in a dark, confusing, panicked state. Also, it might be a guest who needs to quickly escape, and they won’t know where the key is. A key in the lock will allow anyone to easily open it quickly.

Yes, I realize these are the cheap/simple alternatives, although they could conceivably allow a crooked visitor to swipe your key. This risk is probably on par with someone smashing the window.

This is, of course, the ideal situation. On the front door the window is in the frame, not the door, and I think it may be hard acrylic, not glass, based on the sound when you tap it. So it may be fairly secure already. (I’m going to apply frosted plastic film so outsiders can’t see in as easily.)

The doors on the back deck and basement are mostly glass, and replacing them with solid doors would substantially cut the amount of light in the rooms. I may look into replacing the glass with a more shatter-resistant material.

Any other suggestions?

I never saw the need to be locked inside my own house.

It’s unsettling.

I wouldn’t tolerate those lock in my home.

Leave the key in the lock. Don’t invite suspicious characters into your house.

Move back to Nevada. :wink:

Seriously, why did you leave?

I was going to ask whether the deadbolt was the only lock, but then I saw this:

Sounds kind of like the house I grew up in. It had a relatively flimsy front door with glass panels and a “regular” lock that could easily be locked and unlocked from the inside. It was too easy for someone to break in, so we added a key-only deadbolt to the door which was used to lock up the house when we all went away somewhere and nobody was home.

This sort of arrangement makes sense if you’re worried about someone breaking in and stealing your stuff but not about someone breaking in and hurting you.

It’s not something I would want in my house. Changing the locks would be one of the first things I’d do.

Yep; we have front door side windows as well; so I consider a keyed inside lock to be mandatory. We have a sofa table in the entryway where we keep the key. It’s rarely a problem. Unless we’re having something delivered we don’t use that door very often. Most of time we’re going out through the garage.

Put the deadbolt near the ground. If there is only glass on the upper half, the burglar won’t be able to reach it.

I had some friends that did exactly the same thing. They had a key that lived right there in the lock. I never thought about it keeping people from breaking out a window and unlocking the door.

Personally, I would say that it should be swapped out, but having heard that, it’s not an awful idea, but there would have to be some kind of rule (especially for kids) that the key never, ever leaves the lock.

My wife got a better job. Also, we’re closer to family in Maryland and New England.

Deadbolts are cheap and easy to swap out.

Ditto this. Applies to two doors in my house. The hook with the key is outside of arm’s reach were anyone to smash the window in the doors.

Indeed. I would never want to live in an arrangement like this again. I used to live abroad where it was not uncommon to have a key necessary to leave the building (and this was in an apartment), and it drove me fucking batshit after the first time I accidentally fumbled my keys and they fell down the shaft into the basement and I couldn’t get out of my own damned apartment building until somebody else showed up. Just seems like a recipe for disaster. I do not and will never have such locks in a house that I own.

All of them.

In my mom’s house, each door has two locks: One with a latch on the inside and a keyhole outside, and one with a keyhole on both sides. When the house is empty, she uses the keyhole locks. When she gets home, she unlocks all of those and uses the latch locks.

She installed the keyed deadbolts after someone broke in through a basement window and took out the TV and other valuables through the door. Her reasoning was that, even if someone broke in that way again, they’d have a much harder time getting loot out that way.